“Your book isn’t finished yet. You’re going to write so much more when he’s actually in Iraq!” My friends warned me. They already had soldiers deployed to the war front. They knew.
They were right, of course. What I didn’t realize was just how much harder it would be to actually write the next part of my story. My emotions were so raw, my feelings so ugly, my terror ran so deep and was so often overpowering that it was difficult to put words down on paper. I prayed many times, “Lord, how will I ever encourage others when what I’m feeling is so awful?”
I began to write sentences. I wrote in faith; praying, hoping, believing that there would come a time when I could re-read that sentence, remember how I felt, and clearly see how God had helped me. I knew the time would come when the strength and encouragement the Lord had given me would be easy to share with my readers. Before that first deployment, writing was fairly easy. During deployments, however, writing became a rockier journey, filled with many growing pains.
When your beloved soldier is “over there,” your need for God’s strength and so much more becomes an opportunity for growing into a closer walk with God than you’ve ever had before. I know it was for me. Now, having survived four deployments so far, and with one soldier back in civilian life and the other living on the other side of the world, it still is!
I pray that you will be encouraged as you read through my journey and realize that God is walking right there beside you, too!
You’re settling into this military life and all the changes it brings to your world. Just when you begin to think you’ve got it altogether, another word sends tremors that shake you up – DEPLOYMENT.
The word alone brings a sense of uneasiness. First, the rumors begin to swirl. Your soldier’s unit might be going “soon.” What is soon? What kind of preparation can you make with the word soon? Eventually, though, the orders come. You know for sure it is going to happen. Soon has a meaning; probably just a few weeks, at best.
Your soldier’s deployment brings you a new opportunity to grow closer to the Lord. You can either choose to depend on Him through this next difficult stage of military life or push Him away. My prayer is that you will choose to trust Him. God will be there to guide you, comfort your heart, soften your doubts, ease your worries, and brighten your days. Your soldier is depending on you to keep things running smoothly at home. There will days ahead filled with stress, unfathomable fear, and loneliness. You need to be stronger at the end of your soldier’s deployment than you are now, and the only thing that can guarantee that result is for you to walk daily within the presence of the Lord.
O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings. Then I will sing praises to your name forever as I fulfill my vows each day (Psalm 61:1-4, 8 NLT).